Assessments for Adults with Cognitive or Mental Health Concerns

Do you have a family member who is struggling with daily activities due to difficulties with memory, concentration, safety awareness or poor insight? Whether this change in functioning is related to a normal aging process or is part of a mental health diagnosis, On The Spectrum Therapy provides functional assessments of daily living for adults of all ages.

Functional assessments may include any of the following:

– functional mobility (moving around in one’s home environment or in the community)

– self-care abilities (hygiene, bathing, toileting, oral hygiene etc.)

– household tasks (cleaning, cooking, laundry, sweeping, dusting etc.)

– daily routines (organizing a schedule, time management, sleep hygiene etc.)

Recommendations that maximize independence and safety are provided following each assessment.

 

Autism Society Manitoba Conference is on October 3, 2016

On The Spectrum Therapy Services is proud to sponsor Autism Society Manitoba’s conference this fall. We will be setting up an information table at the conference.  Come and check out the resources for those you love and support! Register by contacting Autism Society Manitoba at   http://www.autismmanitoba.com/sponsor.php

 

Back to School Success

Many parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder look forward to September when they can get back in to some sense of ‘routine.’

Finding adequate supports over the summer is a common challenge.  Keeping children with ASD ‘productively’ busy can be a real struggle for families.  September is a time for new beginnings which often includes: new teachers, new classrooms, new peers, new educational assistants and often new schools.  This may even be a time for new rules, new expectations and new challenges.  Despite the transition, most parents welcome the support of the school staff in engaging the child in new and innovative ways.

September is a time to enter into your child’s school with an open mind.

September is a time to set up new expectations with your child (particularly VISUAL rules) that may not have ‘gone over well’ last school year.

September is a time to facilitate that little bit of growth and independence in your child (for example: teaching your child how to participate in making his or her lunch for school).

September is a time to let go of last school year’s frustrations, annoyances, tears, irritations and fears and start with a fresh perspective.

September is a time to build relationships with those who support your child.

September is a time for parents to have some time to enjoy an uninterrupted cup of hot coffee or tea.

September is a time to be proactive and contact your child’s school to set up a meeting and get the year rolling in a positive way.

We all know that September brings with it a new set of parenting challenges because it is yet another transition from ‘free-time’ to ‘work-time.’ Understand that ‘newness’ is anxiety-provoking for your child and using transition objects (a favorite toy or snack) may be helpful to facilitate your child’s steps out of the house.

Encourage your child to share something special from the summer months with his or her peers, in whatever way he or she is comfortable.

Be kind to yourself, breathe deeply and try to be patient in September while the schools sort out how they can best achieve goals collaboratively.

Congratulations on making it through another summer! Best wishes for this school year!

 

What is Occupational Therapy for Autism?

Occupational Therapy is a regulated health profession that specializes in providing a client-centered approach to dealing with the occupations of every day living regardless of impairment or disability. Occupations are tasks or activities that every person does in the span of a day to care for oneself and to participate in work, play and leisure. One of the goals of occupational therapy is to assist an individual in finding and participating in meaningful occupations.

Having autism may mean that the individual has difficulty participating in self-care tasks (for example: toileting, brushing teeth, eating, dressing etc.), play (for example: interacting with peers in appropriate ways, initiating conversation either verbally or through communication device, maintaining friendships etc.), work (for example: finding a job, attending to the tasks of paid or unpaid employment) and leisure (for example: playing a team sport, tolerating the swimming pool, leaving the house etc.).  Occupational therapy can assist the family (and child) in determining the most effective ways to facilitate engagement in these everyday activities or occupations. 

Each stage of life comes with certain developmental milestones, roles and expectations from others to participate and behave in age-specific ways.  When an individual has autism, the variety and discrepancy in skill development can be alarming and confusing to parents and caregivers.  Occupational therapists are skilled in identifying the barriers to an individual’s success in achieving a specific goal and can assist the individual in breaking the task down into manageable chunks.

Occupational therapists are holistic in their approach.  This means that the therapist will take all aspects of each individual (spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, physically, intellectually) into careful consideration while balancing the role that the physical and social environment play on either facilitating or hindering achievement of that individual’s goals.  Individuals with autism may have difficulties regulating their emotions, may have sensory issues that overwhelm the body, may have a very negative self-esteem and may have cognitive impairments which impact on insight and self-awareness.  Families may or may not understand the needs of a person with autism and may feel overwhelmed in attempting to provide support.

Parents and caregivers may struggle with keeping a positive outlook on life when chaos is occurring in the home.  Occupational therapists have a keen understanding of mental health,  how to manage stress, how to cope with anxiety, how to deal with anger, frustration and how to rally supports.

Finding a therapist that inherently understands autism from real-life experience means that you spend less time trying to explain a conundrum and more time finding appropriate, evidence-based solutions so you can get on with living the way you and your family want to live.

On The Spectrum Therapy Services can provide you with an occupational therapist who will help you understand the reasons behind the challenges you face and provide you and your family with guidance and support in achieving your goals.